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THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER

I must tell you, sir, that his voice was perfectly awful; and there was nothing in his appearance to make one expect such a voice. I ran, in spite of myself as it were, to the top of the staircase. The man with the green umbrella gave me a withering glance. Truly I was thunderstruck, turned to stone and thunderstruck; and when he shouted to me, 'Open this grating!' I don't know how I found the strength to rush down the stairs and open it. Then, when the grating was opened, he plunged into the night of the cellars. Where did he go? How did he find his way? That basement of the Conciergerie is plunged in a terrible darkness which nothing has broken for ages and ages."

"Did n't you try to stop him?" I said sharply.

"He had gone too far; and I had n't the strength to stop him. The man with the green umbrella just gave me orders; and I had to obey him. And we stood there for a quarter of an hour, half out of our wits: it was so odd. And his wife talked, and his friend talked, and I talked; and we said nothing of any use; and we stared into the darkness till our eyes ached. Suddenly we heard his voice—not his first voice, but his second voice, the